Of course the Iron Curtain no longer exists but I have to admit that I was feeling some anxiety heading to Eastern Europe. Since before I was born these countries were hidden behind this invisible curtain which was cloaked in mystery, intrigue and of course the big “C” word – Communism. We were taught to fear them and stories of people defecting to the West in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s had a large impact on me and my friends. We didn’t understand why people lived this way. We thought that they had a choice. Not until I reached adulthood did I realize that this was not a life choice but forced upon every family with children growing up not knowing anything else. Finally in 1989, the Eastern Block collapsed and a generation of rebuilding would begin.
We arrived today by train in Budapest, Hungary and though some of the countryside looks quite poor, Budapest, at the heart of it, appears to be like any other city. Loud. Busy. Lots of people. It appears that the city has made a grand recovery in the last 30 years. As we spend a few days here, we may yet see some signs of the old regime. I am still intrigued by this side of the world and can’t wait to part with old fears and beliefs in order to learn as much as I can about this beautiful region.